When Gardai entered a holiday bungalow on Mayo’s Northwest coast in April 2014, they found a scene of desperation and solitude. Scattered amongst the rubbish lay the body of Marsha Mehran, 36. Marsha, an Iranian born author, set her debut novel ‘Pomegranate Soup’ in Mayo which became an international best seller with translation into 15 languages.

Marsha’s life was one of impermanence marked by a search for home that began when her parents were caught up in the coup in Iran in 1979 forcing them into exile when Marsha was just two years old. As a young woman she eventually found home in New York City but was denied residency by a rigid immigration system. Marsha married an Irishman and lived here for on and off for 15 years in the counties of Mayo and Leitrim. Inspired by Ireland’s literary tradition she abandoned her career as a concert pianist to focus on writing. Marsha was a precocious talent, multi-lingual, a trained concert pianist and by all accounts a gregarious soul. However, Marsha had struggles which exposed themselves during the writing of her first book and which ultimately took over after love and life had left her completely alone on the Western fringe of Ireland in the stormy winter of 2014. She became a recluse and died with no money and little food in the house. According to the coroner she lay dead for at least a week.

This documentary tells Marsha’s story and explore the ideas of home, belonging and community.

First broadcast: August 29th, 2015 on RTÉ Radio 1 at 1pm

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this documentary please contact the Samaritans on the freephone no of 116 123 or at www.samaritans.org

Click here if you would like to read more information about Marsha or to purchase any of her novels.

‘An Open Verdict’ was narrated and produced by Jason Murphy.

Readings were by Kat Bahramian.

Recordings from New York by Stephanie Coleman.

Recordings from Australia by Michael Shirrefs.

Production supervision by Liam O’Brien.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries